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ACEC was successful in securing an exemption for A/E services subject to Brooks Act procurement rules from a final Biden Administration rule requiring the use of Project Labor Agreements (PLA) for federal construction projects larger than $35 million.

In its initial rulemaking the Administration proposed that all contractors and subcontractors engaged in federal projects agree to negotiate or become a party to a project labor agreement with one or more appropriate labor organizations.  In comments directed to the FAR Council, ACEC advocated that employees of engineering firms should be specifically excluded from PLAs due to the unique and critical roles engineering firms perform on construction sites. These include field representatives and surveyors monitoring that the work is being performed in compliance with design documents. To perform such work, these personnel must remain independent and objective, and the Council raised concerns that pushing engineering firms into PLAs could create a conflict of interest that could compromise project success and public safety, creating liabilities for the industry.

In the final rule, DOL clarified the language, making it clear that A/E services were exempt.  The agency noted in response to concerns raised by ACEC and other entities that the final rule applies the PLA requirement to contractors or subcontractors “engaged in construction on the project” and specifically excludes professional architecture and engineering services that are covered by the Brooks Act.

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January 3, 2024



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